Healthier Chicken Cordon Bleu

Healthier Chicken Cordon Bleu

Healthier Chicken Cordon Bleu

Who doesn’t love crispy chicken stuffed with cheese and ham? That’s right, no one. Chicken cordon bleu is delicious – but like many other delicious dishes – it’s fairly unhealthy. It’s stuffed with cheese, coated in bread or flour, fried, and often served with a heavy cream sauce. Why do so many yummy meals have to be bad for you? It’s just not fair. Giving up your favorite foods in effort to be healthy really sucks sometimes.

But you can go ahead and wipe those chicken cordon bleu tears away, because I have created an absolutely delicious and healthy spin on chicken cordon bleu. It tastes amazing and is guilt-free in my book. What I love about the ingredients in my recipe is that they don’t deviate all too far from the traditional cordon bleu and the meal still feels indulgent.

Say what? If the ingredients aren’t different then HOW is this healthy?

Healthier Chicken Cordon Bleu

Healthier Chicken Cordon Bleu

For starters this recipe takes a solid pass on the heavy cream sauce that is often served with chicken cordon bleu. In my opinion it really isn’t necessary, especially if you don’t overcook the chicken. The use of cheese in this recipe is also minimal. There’s enough of it in there to add great flavor and ooey-gooey texture, but not so much that its going to clog your pores and make you feel icky. However, you could totally leave the cheese out if you’re not about that dairy life. I bet it would still be as tasty as ever. I also take every opportunity to add something green to my meals, so you better believe I stuffed some spinach in there with the ham and cheese.

Additionally, I upgraded from a flour or breadcrumb crust to almond meal. Almond meal is my new favorite option for a healthier “breading.” And instead of using an egg wash to adhere the almond meal, I chose to use a combination of dijon mustard and mayonnaise. That’s right – I said mayonnaise. Not just any mayo (or mustard), though. It’s all about the ingredients in the sauces, and this recipe calls for Whole30 compliant options. I’m a big believer that it’s all about the quality of the ingredients you use – not how many calories are in them. The brands I use are pictured below, they are 100% free of icky ingredients. Click the images to shop!

       

Before I teach you how to make this beautiful meal, I wanted to touch on how darn fancy it looks. SO FANCY, right? It’s only a slightly complicated to put together, but totally worth all of your hard work. You’re friends or family will be impressed, your tastebuds will be dancing, and your belly will be happy. Serve it along side some greens and veggies and call it a day!

Ingredients (4 servings):

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2-4 plain deli ham slices
  • 2-4 swiss cheese slices
  • 4 TBSP avocado oil mayo
  • 4 TBSP dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • Olive oil, for skillet

Instructions:

  • Mix mayonnaise and dijon together, set aside.
  • Butterfly each chicken breast by carefully slicing the breast nearly in half. Place each butterflied breast in between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a mallet (or other heavy object) to tenderize and thin out the meat. This will make the chicken easy to roll.
  • Remove chicken from plastic wrap. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper, and then spread 1 TBSP of the condiment mixture across each butterflied breast. Reserve the remaining condiment mixture for later.
  • Layer the stuffing ingredients on the chicken. Starting with the spinach leaves, then ham, then cheese – as pictured above. I’ve found that the amount of cheese and ham needed varies with the size of the chicken. For a smaller breast, use 1/2 a slice of ham and cheese; for a large breast, use a full slice of each. Using too much cheese and ham will make it difficult to roll up.
  • Now you’re ready to roll up the chicken! Starting on the end with the ham and cheese, carefully roll the chicken. Use the photos above for reference. Toothpicks can be used to stabilize the roll-ups if needed.
  • Use remaining condiment mixture to coat the top of the rolled breasts.
  • **If prepping a day ahead of time, stop here. Place the chicken in an air tight container and refrigerate over night.** I’ve found letting the chicken rest overnight allows the meat to absorb the condiments and helps prevent the chicken from drying out in the oven. This is not a necessary step, though.
  • To cook:
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Preheat oven-safe or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
    • Evenly coat the top half of the chicken roll-ups with almond meal, gently pressing it onto the chicken.
    • Add a shallow layer of olive oil to the skillet, then place each chicken roll-up top side down into the skillet. Panfry the chicken for 4-5 minutes, then flip. The almond meal should have formed a brown, crisp crust.
    • Once flipped, transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until an internal temperature of 165 degrees – about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the chicken.
    • Remove from oven and rest for at least 5 minutes. Immediately cutting into the chicken will result in the cheese oozing out. No body wants that!

Happy Munching!

**I am a Hungry Harvest and Amazon affiliate. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of the links above, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products that I use myself and totally approve of. Thank you! ❤

Cranberry Nut Chicken Salad

Cranberry Nut Chicken Salad

Cranberry Nut Chicken Salad

Oh chicken salad, how I love you. The great thing about chicken salad is that you can make it as healthy or unhealthy as you want, and you can add so many different things to it! I usually make a big batch and eat it for lunch throughout the week.

Before I got on the clean(er) eating train, I thought ALL mayo was bad for you.  As it turns out, mayo – like many foods that are typically unhealthy – are unhealthy because of the specific ingredients used. Choose healthier ingredients and BAM, you have healthier mayo. There are even mayos that are Whole30 compliant! My favorite mayo is Primal Kitchen’s avocado oil mayo. It’s Whole30 compliant and tastes great! My second favorite mayo is Sir Kensington’s avocado oil mayo. Sir Kensington’s isn’t compliant on a Whole30, but is a great option for every day mayo-ing.

Cranberry Nut Chicken Salad

Cranberry Nut Chicken Salad

Chicken salad is the bomb. It takes literally no time to make and lasts for several meals! It’s also next to impossible to grow tired of because you can add so many different things into the mix and serve it in so many ways. My favorite ways to serve it are over mixed greens or wrapped up in a tortilla.

For a long time I would make this particular chicken salad recipe with walnuts and dried cranberries. Don’t get me wrong that combo is dynamite, but it requires you to have two separate ingredients on hand. Nothing is more annoying that getting halfway through the recipe just to find out you’re all out of cranberries. Solution? Buy a cranberry nut mix! I purchased an omega-3 nut mix from Trader Joe’s that contains cranberries, walnuts, pecans, almonds, pumpkin seeds and pistachios! The nut mix adds a great crunch to the chicken salad, the cranberries give it a nice bit of sweetness, and everything you need is in one bag. 

Cranberry Nut Chicken Salad

Cranberry Nut Chicken Salad

Ingredients (4-5 servings):

Instructions:

  • Combine all ingredients into a bowl and stir! It’s that easy.
    • Don’t forget to chop the nuts into smaller pieces
    • Best when refrigerated for at least 1 hour

Happy munching! : )

 

 

**I am a Hungry Harvest and Amazon affiliate. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of the links above, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products that I use myself and totally approve of. Thank you! ❤

Chicken & Roasted Eggplant Wrap

Chicken & Roasted Eggplant Wrap

Chicken & Roasted Eggplant Wrap

Earlier today I posted a recipe for Roasted Eggplant Spread, my take on a spread or dip similar to baba ganoush. This wrap is my favorite way to use up that spread! Sure, you could make any kind of wrap imaginable with that stuff and it would taste good, but this is the way I like it.

If you already have the eggplant spread made up, this is super fast to put together. It’s one of my favorite meals to bring to work for lunch, even though there isn’t any mayo or cheese in it. I promise you won’t miss them. : )

The veggies I use in the wrap usually vary depending on what veggies come in my Hungry Harvest* delivery, but my non-negotiable ingredients are: chicken, roasted eggplant spread, roasted tomatoes, something crunchy.

*The link above is a referral, and if you click it and order, you and I will each receive $5 off of our next Hungry Harvest order! Don’t know what Hungry Harvest is? Check out my post: 5 Reasons I Love Hungry Harvest

Chicken & Roasted Eggplant Wrap

Chicken & Roasted Eggplant Wrap – The Filling

Ingredients:

  • Tortilla (I prefer whole grain or wheat)
  • Roasted or grilled chicken breast (rotisserie chicken works super well)
  • Roasted tomatoes
  • Roasted Eggplant Spread
  • Lettuce
  • Raw bell pepper

Instructions:

  • Make the Roasted Eggplant Spread (linked above) and roast the tomatoes. I usually make them at the same time. To roast the tomatoes:
    • Cut tomatoes in half, length-wise. Coat in oil and transfer to a baking sheet, make sure the tomatoes are not touching. Roast at 400-425 degrees for about 20 minutes.
  • Place tortilla on counter or cutting board and spread the eggplant mixture on the center of the tortilla and then pile on the meat and veggies! I usually start with the lettuce, then chicken, then the rest.
  • That’s it. You’re done. All you have to do is roll it up and eat!

Happy Munching : )

Chicken + Veggie Enchiladas (freezer friendly)

Chicken + Veggie Enchiladas

Chicken + Veggie Enchiladas

There’s nothing worse than coming home after a long day, opening up the fridge and finding nothing to eat for dinner. Sometimes life just gets busy and you don’t have time to prepare, but that doesn’t mean you need to go to McDonalds or order an extra large pizza. That’s where freezer meals come into play. Freezer meals are the BEST.

I have a handful of freezer recipes on stock at any given time because I am unprepared for meals at least once a week. I haven’t added most of my freezer recipes to the blog yet (breakfast burritos and turkey burritos), but Hidden Veggies Tomato Sauce is up and live for your viewing and eating pleasure. That sauce has become a staple in my freezer. It saves me when I’m out of fresh veggies – I can just reheat it and add it to some pasta for a quick and secretly nutritious dinner. You can also easily amp it up and create a well rounded meal, such as my Healthier Baked Penne with Turkey Meat Sauce.

Ok, ok, back to the enchiladas. What I typically do is make a big batch of the filling mixture, and use 1/2 of it for a fresh enchilada dinner and use the other 1/2 for freezer enchiladas. For example, I sometimes use collard greens instead of tortillas to make the fresh option (Collard Greens Chicken & Veggie “Enchiladas”). I haven’t tried freezing collards before, so if you try it let me know how it turns out!

This recipe is super simple and pretty fool proof thanks to rotisserie chicken and store bought enchilada sauce. If you’re trying to be more conscious of the ingredients you consume from store bought products like sauce, make sure to read the label before you purchase. I had to scan the shelf for a few minutes before I found a sauce that had no added sugar, no weird un-pronounceable ingredients, etc. I found Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce to be the best option at my local Safeway.

Ingredients:

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1/2 yellow squash, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 10oz. can of enchilada sauce
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Enchilada tortillas, or regular tortillas cut in half
  • Oil of choice (I used avocado oil)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Sliced or diced tomato for garnish
  • Oven safe pan OR aluminum dish trays for freezing
  • **Like I said above, this will make a lot of enchiladas! Depending on the size of the pan you are using, you will likely need to cook it in batches or use multiple pans. Consider serving some fresh, and freezing the rest.

Instructions:

  • Chicken mixture: Place a pan on the stove over medium to medium-low heat. Add about 1 tbsp oil to the pan.
    • Once warm, add squash, peppers and onions, and cook until soft – about 5 minutes.
    • Add the shredded chicken to the pan and pour in 1 can of enchilada sauce. Mix everything together well, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Season with cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Spoon about 2-4 spoon-fulls of the chicken mixture into tortilla (depending on the size of your tortillas) and roll into enchiladas. Place into an oven safe dish if cooking right away OR in to an aluminum dish tray. You may need to cut some of the enchiladas in half to fill in gaps in the pan.

Freezer safe enchiladas

  • SERVING FRESH:
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Pour remaining can of enchilada sauce on top of the rolled enchiladas, sprinkle with cheese and garnish with sliced tomatoes (as pictured above).
    • Bake in the oven until cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.
    • Top with fresh cilantro if you have it.
  • FREEZING:
    • Do not add remaining sauce or cheese to the enchiladas.
    • Place a lid on the un-cooked enchiladas and store in the freezer. I don’t like to leave them in there longer than a month.
    • When ready to cook:
      • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
      • Remove from freezer
      • Pour remaining can of enchilada sauce on top of the rolled enchiladas, sprinkle with cheese and garnish with sliced tomatoes (as pictured above).
      • Bake in the oven until cheese is melted and stuffing is heated through, about 30 minutes.
      • Top with fresh cilantro if you have it.
  • ** I like to write the cooking instructions on my freezer safe containers to make reheating easy (yes I know I spelled enchiladas wrong on the container – oops). I usually write the name of the dish, cooking instructions, and the extra ingredients needed.

Chicken and Veggie Enchiladas

 

Happy munching : )

**This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of the links above, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products that I use myself and totally approve of.

 

Chicken Cholula Breakfast Burrito (Collard Greens)

Collard greens are like snakes. Everyone thinks their gross and scary, but it’s all just a bad rumor. Snakes aren’t slimy and most aren’t dangerous. Collard greens aren’t disgusting and there are lots of fun ways to use them in healthy meals.

I had several leftover collard leaves after making my Collard Greens Chicken & Veggie “Enchiladas”, and thought I’d try using them as a wrap for my breakfast. At first I was like: “Oh, that will probably be gross.” But then I remembered that collard greens really aren’t gross and that it would probably be amazing. I was right. Just like the enchiladas, the breakfast burrito was super tasty.

Since I already had the blanched collard leaves and leftover rotisserie chicken, this only took a couple of minutes to whip up. The version I made this morning wasn’t Whole30 compliant, but it could easily be modified. Just switch out the Sir Kensington’s avocado oil mayo for a compliant mayo, such as Primal Kitchen’s avocado oil mayo. However, if you’re not on a whole30 and are just trying to avoid weird and icky ingredients, Sir Kensington’s is a great option for mayo. Everything else in the recipe, including the Cholula hot sauce, is whole30 compliant.

Okay, okay… let’s get started.

CHICKEN CHOLULA BREAKFAST BURRITO

Cholula Chicken Breakfast Burrito (Whole30)

A Whole30 compliant breakfast option.

  • 2 collard green leaves
  • 1/2 chicken breast (shredded)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TBSP mayo
  • Cholula hot sauce (to taste)
  1. Sauce: Combine mayo and hot sauce. Set aside.
  2. Collards: Place two blanched collard green leaves on your workstation as pictured below. I like to take a knife and trim the thickest part of the stem – it makes wrapping easier. If you’re not using leftover wraps like I did, follow the instructions in #3.

  3. Cut or snap the long stem from the base of the leaf. In increments, place 2 – 3 leaves in boiling water for about 1 minute to quickly blanch the leaves. This will make them more pliable and easier to work with. Remove from water and set aside to cool.
  4. Eggs: Cook two eggs to your preference and transfer to collard leaves. I’ve included my favorite way in the bullet below.
  5. Place a skillet on the stovetop and bring to medium heat. Lightly grease or oil the pan if not using a non-stick skillet.  Crack both eggs into the pan and break the yolks. Cook over medium heat until the whites are cooked through, do not flip eggs (breaking the yolks helps to reduce the mess when you inhale your burrito). Remove from heat, and transfer to collard leaves.
  6. Place the shredded chicken (I reheated the chicken in the microwave for about 15 seconds) on top of the eggs, and drizzle with sauce.
  7. Fold the leaves as if they were a tortilla and you’re done!

Happy munching : )

**This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of the links above, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products that I use myself and totally approve of.

Collard Greens Chicken & Veggie “Enchiladas”

Collard Greens Chicken & Veggie "Enchiladas"

Collard Greens Chicken & Veggie “Enchiladas”

This is a healthier spin on enchiladas that is surprisingly tasty and satisfying! I ended up with a ton of collard greens this week and wanted to find a creative way to use them up – this is the result.

This recipe is super simple and pretty fool proof thanks to rotisserie chicken and store bought enchilada sauce. If you’re trying to be more conscious of the ingredients you consume from store bought products like sauce, make sure to read the label before you purchase. I had to scan the shelf for a few minutes before I found a sauce that had no added sugar, no weird un-pronounceable ingredients, etc. I found Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce to be the best option at my local Safeway. Additionally, this recipe could be modified to be Whole30 compliant if you exclude the cheese, and choose a compliant enchilada sauce.

The recipe below makes quite a few enchiladas, enough to feed 2-4 people and maybe have some leftovers. The options for sides are endless, however I served this dish with a side of corn and black beans. If you find that you have leftovers of the chicken mixture, I bet it would double as a great breakfast served with black beans and eggs.

This dish is a great place to dump extra veggies, too. I used squash, peppers and onions, but you could totally mix that up. Spinach and zucchini would also be super tasty in this!

Ingredients:

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1/2 yellow squash, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 10oz. can of enchilada sauce
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10-15 collard green leaves
  • Oil of choice (I used avocado oil)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Collard Greens Chicken & Veggie "Enchiladas"

Instructions:

  • Collard wraps:
    • Cut or snap the long stem from the base of the leaf. In increments, place 2 – 3 leaves in boiling water for about 1 minute to quickly blanch the leaves. This will make them more pliable and easier to work with.
    • Set aside to cool.
  • Chicken mixture: Place a pan on the stove over medium to medium-low heat. Add about 1 tbsp oil to the pan.
    • Once warm, add squash, peppers and onions, and cook until soft – about 5 minutes.
    • Add the shredded chicken to the pan and pour in the can of enchilada sauce. Mix everything together well, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Season with cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 7.30.46 PM

  • Assembly:Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and lightly oil a baking dish.
    • Place a collard leaf on your work station and spoon some of the chicken mixture on to the leaf as pictured below.
    • Carefully roll the leaf into a tight cylinder as pictured.
    • Place the rolled leaves into your oiled baking dish. Depending on the size of the baking dish, you may find them easier to arrange if you cut the leaves in half.
    • Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the dish and bake for 15 min. That’s it! You’re done.

Collard Greens Chicken & Veggie "Enchiladas"

**This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of the links above, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products that I use myself and totally approve of.